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Kathua rape-n-murder case: Complainant records statement in court

Press Trust of India

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Pathankot, July 4: The complainant in the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua in January this year was produced before the the district and sessions judge here for recording his statement, officials said on Wednesday.
The complainant, who had adopted the victim, recorded his statement before the judge, they said, adding his statement would be recorded again tomorrow.
He reached the court under police protection and after the completion of day-long hearing, he was escorted back, they added.
He is the fourth witness produced by the crime branch before the court, which is hearing the case on the directions of the Supreme Court.
The complainant belongs to a nomadic minority community which shift its base during the summer months from Jammu to higher reaches of Kashmir Valley.
The court had last month framed charges of rape and murder against seven of the eight accused, paving way for the beginning of trial against them.
The accused against whom charges were framed were Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, special police officers Deepak Khajuria alias Deepu and Surinder Verma, Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, head constable Tilak Raj, and sub-inspector Arvind Datta.
Sanji Ram, who is alleged to have hatched the conspiracy with other accused for kidnapping the girl as a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area, is considered to be the main accused, the crime branch charge sheet has alleged.
The fate of the eighth accused, who claims to be a juvenile and is a nephew of Sanji Ram, is yet to be decided after the crime branch of the Jammu and Kashmir Police contested his claim that he was a minor.
The district and sessions court has framed charges under various sections of the Ranbir Penal Code including 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder) and 376-D (gang rape), special public prosecutor J K Chopra said earlier.
The court had also framed charges for destruction of evidence and under section 328 (causing hurt by poisoning with an intent to hurt) of the RPC.
The two policemen — Tilak Raj and Arvind Datta — were also charged under Section 161 (public servant taking illegal gratification) of the RPC, Chopra had said.
The crime branch had filed a charge sheet on April 9 in Kathua in the case of kidnap, rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl on January 10 this year.
She was killed on January 14 and her body was recovered on January 17, triggering a massive political unrest in the state.
According to the charge sheet, the victim was held in captivity at a small village temple in Kathua district where she was kept sedated and sexually assaulted before she was bludgeoned to death.
The trial in the case began on May 31 with the seven accused being produced before the district and sessions judge after the Supreme Court transferred the case from Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot in Punjab for a fair trial following a plea by the victim’s family.
While transferring the case from Kathua to Pathankot, about 30 km away, the apex court directed day-to-day in-camera trial in the case.


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Sniper attacks on border: ‘Pakistan shall be punished’

Press Trust of India

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Udhampur, Nov 16: The Army’s Northern Command chief, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, said Friday Pakistan shall be “punished” if it carries out activities detrimental to India and asserted that befitting replies were given to the neighbouring nation for violating ceasefire.
The Army commander’s comments come in the wake of fatalities in sniping incidents along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Jammu region in the last few days.
“The message is very clear for the troops on the ground that should Pakistan not stop from carrying out activities, which are detrimental to our national interest along the LoC, they (Pakistan) shall be punished accordingly,” Lt Gen Singh told PTI on the sidelines of a function here to felicitate teachers of Army Goodwill schools.
Three Army soldiers and a porter were killed and four others were injured in sniping incidents along the LoC in Jammu’s Rajouri and Poonch district last week.
“There has been regular sniping incidents from an area along the LoC and we have regularly (lodged) protests with our Pakistani counterparts on their sniping activities. If they have carried out any ceasefire violation, we have given them a befitting reply,” Singh said.
The lieutenant general also said that “as far as infiltration attempts from across the LoC are concerned, Pakistan has continued with its efforts to give impetus to infiltration.”
The Indian Army is deployed all along the LoC and “we have been able to thwart all attempts by Pakistan to push in militants toward our side”, he said, adding the security situation in the state’s hinterland is stable, but remains fragile.
Goodwill schools were started in 1998 and currently, the Northern Command runs 45 such schools under Project Sadbhavana.
Twenty-four teachers received awards from Lt Gen Singh for their innovative skills in teaching.
The project provides education to 15,000 students and employs 1,000 teaching and non-teaching staff.

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Rights Commission seeks admission details from schools

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Nov 16: State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has asked the Directorate of School Education Kashmir and private schools in the valley to share within two weeks their admission procedures with respect to the quota for poor.
Chairman SHRC, Justice (Retd) Bilal Nazki, issued the order in response to a petition filed by the International Forum for Justice and Human Rights Muhammad, Ahsan Untoo.
The petition urges the commission to inspect the “shoddy procedures” adopted by the private schools in giving admissions.
“The poor section people are deprived of all the opportunities for improving their fate and are left with no option other than to admit in local schools,” reads the petition, urging the commission to see whether the downtrodden sections of the society were provided their “due share in the admissions as per the Supreme Court guidelines”.
The petitioner also seeks transparency in the schools’ admission procedure.
“There are reports that brokers manage admission against hefty sums,” the petition reads.
The petition claims that the schools have been charging parents for heating arrangements but not keeping the facility available to the students.
Private Secretary SHRC, Khazir Mohammad Shah, told The Kashmir Monitor that following the petition, notice would be sent to the Directorate and all leading private schools of the valley on Monday.

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Div Com Jmu asks DCs: ‘Identify state land for security forces’

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Jammu, Nov 16: Divisional Commissioner, Sanjeev Verma, Friday convened a meeting with Deputy Commissioners of Jammu division and officers of Security forces regarding identification of land for Police/ CRPF/BSF.
The meeting was attended by IGP Jammu Dr. S D Singh, DIG CRPF North Jammu, P C Jha, DIG CRPF Jammu sector, M P Bahuguna, DIG BSF Jammu, Indraj Singh, Deputy Commissioner Jammu, Ramesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioner Samba, Sushma Chouhan and senior functionaries of JDA besides all Deputy Commissioners of Jammu Division attended the meeting through video conferencing.
Senior officers of security forces apprised the Div Com of their requirement of land in various districts of Jammu division.
The DCs apprised the Div Com about the availability of land in their respective districts.
The Div Com asked the DCs to hand over the land identified by them in their respective districts to the security forces at the earliest.

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